Gov. Jay Inslee today named Michael Fong to serve as director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. He replaces Lisa Brown, who left earlier this year after leading the agency for four years. Kendrick Stewart, Commerce’s deputy director and current acting director, will continue leading the agency until Fong begins on May 8.
Fong currently serves as the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s operations in the Pacific Northwest. President Biden appointed him to this position in January, 2022. In this role, he oversaw the delivery of programs aimed at providing small business owners emergency pandemic relief funding, access to capital, business development counseling, and government contracting opportunities.
“Mike has a wide breadth of experience managing major progressive economic development programs on behalf of Washingtonians, and building successful coalitions,” Inslee said. “He has the integrity and the skillset required to lead the Department of Commerce and to deliver on the agency’s expansive mission of strengthening communities.”
“Michael Fong has been an effective and committed leader as SBA’s regional administrator,” said SBA’s administrator, Isabella Guzman. “His commitment and knowledge have helped Region 10’s over 1.3 million small businesses start, grow, and become more resilient. I am grateful for Mike’s high level of service at the SBA and know that he will continue to deliver strong economic impact in his new leadership role for the state of Washington.”
Prior to his appointment with the SBA, Fong held leadership roles in Seattle, King County and Snohomish County. He also served as a senior deputy mayor for the City of Seattle from 2017 to 2021. Fong began his career as a policy analyst and legislative aide for Seattle’s city council.
“I’m looking forward to bringing my experience across local government and the SBA to support the agency’s mission to strengthen communities and grow our economy in every corner of the state,” Fong said. “We’ll continue to lead the nation as an equitable, inclusive place to live, work and thrive.”
Fong is a native of Spokane, Washington. He received his Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Washington. He speaks Cantonese fluently.
Dolores Sibonga says
Many small businesses have been able to survive thanks to Michael Fong’s ability to connect them with government assistance and resources. His new position at Commerce further extends his scope to every part of the State. Well done, Michael, and Congratulations!
Robert Thoms says
Great news for Washington State, he will do great things for our State at Dept of Commerce. All the best in this new capacity. He has been a leader in all his endeavors and no doubt will continue the tradition of providing vital support that former Director Lisa Brown shined during her tenure.